Monday, January 31, 2005

Severus Bach

You’d think that, with George so down in the dumps, I wouldn’t have practiced very much this weekend. But I did. Why?

Because I had a dream. A vewwy skehwwy dweam.

I dreamed that I died and went to heaven, and heaven was nothing less than a huge university with a world-renowned conservatory. Most of the professors were the Dead White European Males that we know and love—Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, etc. And I was signed up for daily piano and theory lessons with Bach.

So Bach and I met at some German pub to discuss the progress that was expected of me. In the pub, he was the young, nice-looking Bach whose picture is on the cover of my Inventions/Sinfonias book. He was easy-going and friendly, and he sounded like he would be a dream to work with. I was all excited about studying piano and theory with this nice-looking (albeit bewigged) young man.

Then, when I got to my first lesson, which took place in something like Severus Snape’s potions classroom, my beloved, adored Bach had been transformed into his harsh-looking (but familiar) old image, and boy, was he a bear. A little sign on his desk said, “Severus Bach: Musical Potions.”

So I sat down on the ornate piano bench. I was so nervous. It was really a scary dream. Huge cauldrons lined the room, and strange smoke came out of them. Hands shaking, I started to play.

He threw fits and test tubes whenever I missed a note (of course, I was having to do contrary motion scales). Even when I thought I played perfectly, he would find an excuse to yell "Ach!" or throw a test tube. When I played something I’d composed, the cauldrons would emit a belching smoke (I think the Hubster’s snores were working their way into my dream again there). And Bach would grumble or groan, always with unmistakeable disgust in his voice.

So yesterday morning, after waking up from the dream, I started writing in my journal about it. And ended up with a sort-of story about reincarnation. Now, I don’t think I believe in reincarnation, but it’s interesting to think about. So I was writing that when souls die (or before they are born), they go to this wonderful heaven-university and study whatever it is they want to study with those souls who have been most accomplished in their fields. And then when the souls come to earth, they have no memory of their heaven-university education, and it’s just the luck of the draw whether they’re born into a family that recognizes those “innate talents” that they honed long before they were ever even "conceived.”

Then I thought, “Wouldn’t that be cool? To have studied with Bach in a former life, or in the heaven-university-conservatory?” What if that did happen? Maybe that’s why people just seem to have inborn talents—because they've studied them all before.

Even if we each only have one life, maybe we’re only born after going to the heaven-university. It’s there that we are given gifts and potential, where our potential is maybe even realized. And then we come to earth and can only hope to connect with whatever it is, deep and buried within us, that we knew so completely before we were born.

Wait a minute. I’m having vague memories of “Introduction to Philosophy” from my freshman year of college. I think Plato or someone has already thought of this idea. Or something like it.

It’s fun to think about, though. And I ended up writing ten pages of pretend before I knew it.

And when I practiced piano, I couldn’t get the image of Severus Bach out of my mind. And boy, did I push myself. Wanted to work toward my potential, whatever that is.

You know, it was kind of a scary dream that I had, but it sure got me motivated. And my contrary-motion scales are sounding better than ever.

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